China to lend Nigeria $325m to build northern fibre backbone
China’s Eximbank is to lend Nigeria the equivalent of US$325 million to expand its Galaxy national fibre infrastructure into the north of the country.
The loan – of the equivalent of 126.7 billion naira – will allow the federal government to build phase two of the National Information Communications Technology Infrastructure Backbone (Nictib II) to the northern 19 states of the federal republic.
Nigeria’s Business AM newspaper quotes Mohammed Abubakar (pictured), the managing director of Galaxy Backbone, the state company that has built phase one of Nictib, as saying the new Chinese-funded fibre network will expand service from Abuja to Plateau, Gombe, Kano and the rest of north-western Nigeria.
“In two to three years, we hope that the hinterland will be covered, including Gombe State,” he said, according to the publication. The fibre will interconnect with subsea cables landing in Nigeria.
Galaxy Backbone already covers a distance of 1484km, covering 13 states across the south-east, south, north-central and south-west of Nigeria with base stations installed in 17 cities.
Business AM says that the 19 northern Nigerian states have 90 million people but only 55 million active mobile internet connections. Nigeria as a whole has 136 million mobile internet connections.
Eximbank is a Chinese state-owned institution that funds infrastructure projects. Projects it has helped to fund include the development of the port of Piraeus in Greece, an airport in Samoa, jointly with the World Bank, and a bridge in Serbia.